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Africa Media Review Vol. 8 No. 2 1994African Council for Communication Education
Some Reflections on theDependency Theory
Luke Uka Uche*
The challenge facing contemporary scholarship in communication anddevelopment is that of boldly addressing the issue of the hegemonic structureand control of the world economy and the systematic strangulation of Africaand the rest of the Third World by the industrialized world. To shy away fromaddressing the Issue that the under-development of the Third World societiescame about through colonalism is to run away from reality.
Communication in the development process of Africa was denied aMarshall Plan despite her contribution to the economic attainment ofworld peace after World War II.
* Luke Uka Uche teaches in the Department of Mass Communications,University of Lagos, Nigeria.
Quelques Reflexions sin-la Theorie de Dependence
par Luke Uka Uche*
Actuellement, le defl pour les etudiants dans les domaines de communicationet du developpement c'est celui d'adresser la question de la structurehegemonique, le controle de l'economie du monde, et la strangulationsystematique de l'Afrique et le reste du Tiers Monde par les pays developpes.Eviter de discuter le fait que le sous-developpement du Tiers-Monde est leresultat du colonialisme, c'est eviter la realite.
Au cours du processus de developpement en Afrique, on a refuse unplan gigantesque dans le domaine de la communication malgre sa contributionau developpement economique et a 1'industrialisation de l'Europe et del'Amerique et aussi sa contribution a la realisation de la paix dans le mondeapres la Deuxieme Guerre Mondiale.
* Luke Uka Uche enseigne dans le Departement de la Communication desMasses a l'Universite de Lagos, Nigeria.
Independence from Europe's colonial rule came to the first Africancountry south of the Sahara exactly twelve years after the end of theWorld War II (WWII) in 1945. It was Ghana, formerly Gold Coast, thatenjoyed the honour of being the first to attain independent status inblack Africa on March 6, 1957. The former name, Gold Coast, isnot only suggestive, but also reminiscent of the height of the state ofthe ecstasy of the Europeans in their exploitation and looting of Ghana'sgold for the development of Europe. In the 1960s, most sub-SaharanAfrican countries became independent nation states. Colonial Africanstates sent their soldiers to fight on the Allied side (of course theircolonial masters') during WW II. Colonial Africa also shipped food-stuffs for the feeding of the Allied forces; she also sent materials for theAllied war efforts. In short, Africa contributed in no small measure inthe defeat of the Axis powers. Soon after WW II, the United Statesimplemented the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction and rehabilitationof Europe in order to overcome the scars of the WW n. For thetechnological and economic heights Europeans have attained, as wellas the degree of political stability they now enjoy, credit is partly dueto the Marshall Plan.
Inspite of the fact that Africa went through the triple jeopardy ofparticipating In WW II; being a victim of the slave trade; and beingtraumatized by, and deprived as a result of colonialism that securedthe exploitation of its raw materials, agricultural products and mineralresources for the industrialization of Europe, it was denied its own fairshare of the Marshall Plan for the development of the continent.Africa, thus, joined the comity of nations handicapped, short-changedand cheated.
Africa's background makes her quest for Industrializationproblematique. The problem Is that communication in the developmentprocess of Africa was denied a Marshall Plan, despite Africa'scontribution to the economic development and Industrialization ofEurope and America, and attainment of world peace after WW II.
One would have thought that lack of economic rehabilitation ofthe African societies, soon after independence, under a package similarto the Marshall Plan, was an oversight. But it was not, as Africa's debtcrisis and other events demonstrate. At no time in the history of thedevelopment of African societies has the need arisen to prepare andmount a special social development, rehabilitation and reconstructionpackage from the United States, Western democracies and Japan,than at the present time of zero economic growth and industrialdevelopment in sub-Saharan Africa. This is a result of the current
excruciating debt burden. In 1990, African and Third World countriesgave back 2.4 billion (sterling) in debt repayments to the UnitedKingdom than they received In new loans, Investment, export creditand aid from her government and charities. The underdevelopment ofAfrican societies is perhaps a lucrative business to the industrializedworld. This is aptly Illustrated by Lawrence Summers' "dirty" memothat caused not only an International uproar, but also outrage andIndignation. Mr. Summers, chief economist of the World Bank, in aDecember 12, 1991, internal memorandum to his colleagues, hadsuggested that the World Bank encourage "more migration of thedirty industries" in the Industrialized world to the LDCs (Less Developedcountries). Hear his logic and contempt for the Third World countriesand Africa:
I can think of three reasons:i) The measurement of the costs of health-Impairing pollution depends onthe forgone earnings from Increased morbidity and mortality. From thispoint of view, a given amount of health-Impairing pollution should bedone in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country withthe lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load oftoxic waste in the lowest-wage country is impeccable and we should faceup to that.
il) The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial incrementsof pollution probably have very low cost. I've always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly under-polluted: their air quality isprobable vastly inefficiently low (sic) compared to Los Angeles or MexicoCity. Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated bynon-tradable Industries (transport, electrical generation) and that theunit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world-welfareenhancing trade in air pollution and waste.
iii) The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasonsis likely to have very high income-elasticity. The concern over an agentthat causes a one-in-a million change in the odds of prostate cancer isobviously going to be much higher In a country where people survive to getprostate cancer than in a country where under-5 mortality Is 200 perthousand. Also, much of the concern over industrial atmospheric dischargeis about visibility-impairing particulates. These discharges may have verylittle direct health impact. Clearly trade in goods that embody aestheticpollution concerns could be welfare-enhancing. While production is mobilethe consumption of pretty air is a non-tradable.
The problem with the arguments against all these proposals for morepollution In LDCs (intrinsic rights to certain goods, moral reasons, socialconcerns, lack of adequate markets, etc.) could be turned around andused more or less effectively against every Bank proposal for liberalisation."frhe Economist, February 8 - 14, 1992, p.66).
It is, therefore, no longer a surprise now, on reflection, to associatethe secret dumping of 10,000 tons of poisonous, toxic Industrial wastein Nigeria's seaport town of Koko by ships from the Italian port ofPisa, that exposed that area of Nigeria to toxic and radioactivesubstances, with Western backed international conspiracy (Uche,1990). A veritable legacy in the development process is thatcommunication media emerge out of economic growth andindustrialization of any society. Communication plays no role in asociety that has stunted social development. Communicationis unquestionably a by-product of economic and Industrialdevelopment. Summers' memo is a complete nullity of the programmesof the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and othersimilar Institutions of the West in the development of Africa and theThird World. The true agenda of the re-colonization of Africa and, ifneed be, the destruction of its environment, people and natural habitatby the most powerful and industrialized nations of the world isbeginning to unfold.
The Dependency Theory Revisited
The dominant modernization paradigm that saw development in termsof economic growth came into being to primarily give support to theforeign policy agenda, interests and adventures of the Westerndemocracies in the diffusion of their dominant cultural values in thesocio-political development of traditional societies (White, 1988; 1989).The assumed failure of the modernization paradigm gave birth to thedependency-dissociation paradigm. This resulted from the works ofLatin American and African social scientists, who attacked the Euro-American ethnocentrism of the modernization paradigm (Servaes,1990). To the dependistas of Latin America (as they are popularlyreferred to), the dependency paradigm postulates that the process ofdevelopment should be analyzed at the following macro levels: regional,central, and peripheral; external factors are responsible for theunderdevelopment of the Third World; the deprivation of surplus atthe periphery promotes the continuous development of the centre,which action ensures the underdevelopment of the periphery; andfinally, the periphery should dissociate itself from the world marketand strive for self-reliance [Ibid. 110).
In a nutshell, Servaes (1990) summarizes the theoreticalpostulation of the dependistas thus:
... the domination of the periphery by the center occurs through acombination of power politics, culture, and so on. The specific components
of the domination of any nation at a given point In time vary from those ofanother as a result of the variations In numerous factors, powers, thenature of structure of the periphery nation, and the degree of resistance todomination.
Arnin (1971) had used Cote dlvoire as a case study of a prototypenation that was experiencing economic growth without simultaneousdevelopment, which implied that "an export-oriented and externallygenerated growth process results in the lack of any internal self-centred dynamics," [Ibid, p.68). Although Amln had opined that "amature capitalist development process could only take place by effectinga break with the world market," the Ivorien development strategy hadas its main objective, "to establish development through a high degreeof intergration into the world market," [Ibid].
One significant contribution of Amin and the entire representativesof the Dependency School of Thought is that some two decades latertheir intellectual prophecy that warned of the dangers of economicgrowth patterned after the West had come to be appreciated withsubdued silence in Africa just before the end of the 20th Century. Theworry of the dependency theorists became an embodiment of thegoals, aspirations and expectations in the struggle for self-determination, self-sufficiency, and self-reliance in the Third Worldcountries; determination to legitimize and assert their political andeconomic independence.
The need for relevant communication media in the quest fordevelopment and cultural autonomy became critical and unassailable.The domination of Western traditions and cultural biases led to protestliterature that partly culminated in the movement for North-Southdialogue for a new world economic order and now the moribundUNESCO-sponsored New World Information and Communication Orderdebate. Besides generating new awareness that challenged the statusquo in the international system, the dependency paradigm, going bythe total collapse of the economies of Africa, was not a ruse after all.
However, Mowlana and Wilson (1990) are inclined to observe that
'the dependency theory in all Its variations... was not a new model ofdevelopment but only a collection of critiques of the orthodox approaches.The critiques dealt primarily with various perceived causes ofunderdevelopment rather than establishing new meanings of development.'
We can, therefore, dare say that the dependency-dissociation paradigmwas indeed, not only a major theory, but also a critique of the liberalcapitalist model of development that was backed by the theories ofexogenously induced change and economic growth , deemed to be the
sine qua non of progress, supported by capital-intensive technologyimported from the West with Western ideas, centralized planning andencouraged a philosophy that underdevelopment had internal causes',[Ibid, pp.29-30).
The dependency "theory" was, therefore, an oflf-shoot of frustrationthe modernization development paradigm brought along in the wakeof the derailment of its promise of great expectations. A leading criticof the dependency theory, Apter (1987), sees the contribution ofdependency theory only in its ability to "reveal that which liberalmodernization theory ignores;" accusing it of being "too dire in itscritiques of capitalism and neocolonialism." According to Apter, "toconsider development in terms of the agents of capitalism, compradoreclasses, multinational corporations, and other Instruments ofdomination through which the workings of Imperialism... will producethe dependency as a kind of negative inevitability seems at best simple-minded. The absence of such Instruments would not necessarily helpcountries develop," (Ibid, p.26). Apter is certainly correct in his portraitof dependency school of thought as critics of modernization paradigm.But it is doubtful If the presence of those western engineeredinstruments Apter has alluded to the dependency theorists hasnecessarily helped the Less Developing Countries to develop.
For instance, Marcussen and Torp (1982) - some twelve years ago,used Cote d'lvoire as a case study in their investigation to counter thedependency school of thought (especially Samir Amin). They claimedto have generated incontrovertible data to substantiate (their) argumentthat the centre does not necessarily block capitalist development inthe periphery. Instead, so they argued, the centre only organizes theperiphery for its Integration Into the world economy as an equal andcompetitive partner. They, therefore, appealed to Amin and others inthe dependency school of thought, to start to think of a basic changeof theoretical paradigm if we are to understand the relations betweenthe centre and periphery. They enthused: "We have tried to demonstratethat, with heavy influence from international capital, and with theIvorien state as the most dynamic factor In the internal situation, theIvory Coast has the potentiality In its agricultural and industrial sectorsto transcend the 'blocked development' situation," (p. 139).
Marcussen and Torp, (Ibid.) of course, knew that Cote d'lvoire waseconomically living on borrowed time. Because the dependency schoolof thought was seen as neo-Marxist, whose critique of capitalismfocused on the relations between centre and periphery (Apter, 1987)as it continues to shift "the focus away from endogenous to exogenouscauses of class polarization, a process universalized by suchinstrumentalities as multinational corporations and compradore
classes," the ultra-conservative right did whatever it could to write it(i.e. dependency school) off, irrespective of any seeming logic it broughtforward. It was at the height of the intellectual campaign of calumnyagainst the dependency school of thought that Cote d'lvoire waspresented to the international community, by Marcussen and Torp(1982), thus:
With regard to all the major world market factors, the Ivory Coast occupiesa unique role. Its intergratlon into the world market has taken placecontinuously since independence in 1960... the Ivory Coast has experienceda growth process which is sometimes called an economic miracle. Notonly has its growth process been remarkable, but it has also been veryconstant and regular.
But, alas, why is it then that Cote d'lvoire's intentional attempt toestablish an integrated global economy that is modelled after theindustrialized Western nations, is yet to materialize since independencein 1960, all the flatteries from Western development researchersnotwithstanding?
The Dependency Theory and the National Experiences ofCote d'lvoire, Ghana and Nigeria
One is made to understand and appreciate the fact that the Ivorianeconomic miracle came about due to the existence of some "dynamicelements in the changing historical conditions for capital accumulationin the Western countries" as "these elements are responsible for thecreation of new productive structures in parts of the periphery whichmay very well break with the 'blocked development' situation",(Marcussen and Torp, 1982). What happened to Cote d'lvoire, contraryto Marcussen's and Torp's claim, was the contrary, when viewed fromthe prevailing economic woes Cote d'lvoire and the rest of Africa aregoing through as at 1992. Consequently, the notion of "blockeddevelopment' situation in which the underdeveloped world finds itself,primarily due to the fact that the international capitalist system hascreated an international division of labour that makes the LDCs thesuppliers of raw materials to the centre, as well as acting as marketsfor the sales of its (centres') manufactured goods. This is a validationof more than two decades of the critiques of Samir Amin and others inthe dependency school of thought. Cote d'lvoire is not an island ofcalm and development in the troubled African terrain. The 1991World Bank Report classified Cote d'lvoire, a country of 11 millionpeople, as one of the most depressed economies among the so-called medium-income level countries. Cote d'lvoire's external debt
of US $15,412 million as at 1989, (World Bank 1991) is indeed agreatburden that will continue to make her a social cleavage of theindustrialised West.
Similarly in Ghana, it is the same experience. At independence in1957, Ghana had achieved 60% literacy rate (an exceptionallyremarkable feat for an under developed nation on attainment ofindependence), produced 10% of the world's gold, her income percapita as at 1957 was equal to that of Spain, and she had US $1,000million in her external reserve (Jensen, 1991), and above all, she wasa leading exporter of cocoa. Ghana was thus ranked as one of Africa'smost advanced nations. But once the industrialized West startedtinkering with the prices of those basic commodities (especially goldand cocoa) that sustained Ghana's economic growth, she started toexperience "blocked" development. She supplied the raw materials tothe centre, and as a periphery she was the market for the sale of themanufactured products from the centre that she and otherunderdeveloped economies supplied the raw materials for. Her desireto get integrated into the global economy was effectively blockedthrough commodity price fixing by the industrialized Western countriesbecause of the romance her first president, Kwame Nkruma, had hadwith former communist countries of the East and USSR Consequently,Ghana's economic growth pommelled. From an exchange rate ofC2.75 to one US$ in 1983, Ghana's local currency fell to C990.00to one US$. Ghana first experienced what Cote d'lvoire is currentlygoing through.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund introducedStructural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) in Ghana. The result isthat it has brought about new prosperity only to the executives ofmultinational companies and their local cohorts due to the liberalinvestment climate that had led to the (Second Coming) of manyforeign companies into the country. The result was that the realbeneficiaries of Ghana's economic environment were the foreigninvestors because of the flow of foreign capital and expertise theybrought in the country (Kadiri, 1991). Other beneficiaries of Ghana'seconomic recovery programme also include bureau de change monetaryspeculators and tax evading smugglers (Ibid, p. 12). On the otherhand, the lowest paid of Ghana's civil servant earns a little overUS $50.00 (Jensen, p. 16). Ghana's economy is being reconstructedthrough massive foreign finance in the form of loans, grants and aids;most of the infrastructures that have been built are fuelled by borrowedmoney (Ibid, p. 17) from the World Bank and IMF and other Westerncreditors. The pertinent questions that arise are: Isn't Ghana goingthrough the same vicious cycle as Cote d'lvoire? What measures are
there to stop capital flight by foreign companies? Are not Ghana andCote d'lvoire's national experiences in foreign debt procurement aclassic case of blocked development to guarantee perpetual dependencyof the periphery?
Nigeria also shares a similar experience. As at 1990, her externalborrowing stood at US $33 billion, out of Africa's US $270 billionexternal debt. Nigeria's oil wealth attracted foreign investors thatended up blocking her development and integration into world economy.This was coupled with the ruling elites' high propensity for corruption.From her previous ranking as a medium-income developing economy,Nigeria has dropped to being the 13th poorest country in the world,according to the World Bank. Consequently, Nigeria, Ghana, Coted'lvoire and all African economies (perhaps, minus that of SouthAfrica) typify what Apter (1987) refers to as "a zero-sum politicalsituation," in which a typical response to satisfy the economic needs ofthe masses and other marginalized groups by the government wouldbe "to borrow from outside, thereby increasing indebtedness; anotheris to offer special inducements to outside investors in hopes ofstimulating growth and generating new employment opportunitiesboth in new industries and service occupations (thereby increasingdependence)." That is what is happening in Africa. It has beenrevealed that in one single year, Nigeria and Mexico, due to fluctuatingchanges in international commodity prices, which were externally-induced by the industrialized world, lost US $10 billion and US $11billion, respectively (Fossedal, 1989). Nigeria's own loss was almostone-third of her external debt. Is this another evidence of blockeddevelopment?
In recent times, hard core theorists of the capital markets havecome up with the argument that market forces that allowedinternational prices to shape internal prices and patterns of resourceallocation, coupled with a minimum of state intervention in the domesticeconomy, as well as competition at international level had indeed,been responsible factors that produced rapid and egalitariandevelopment in the Newly Industrializing Countries (NICs) of EastAsia (Bienefeld, 1988). On the contrary, Manfred (1988) holds theview that accumulating detailed evidence has shown that thegovernments in East Asia, especially Taiwan and South Korea, havebeen highly interventionist in production, in capital markets, in trade,in marketing and in research and development. Bienefeld (1988)informs us that, "their relative economic success has allowed them togradually liberalize their economies at the margins, so that thisliberalization should be seen more as the consequence than as thecause of their success".
The various Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAP) andEconomic Recovery Programmes (ERP) most African governments areimplementing as an antidote for ailing economies by the World Bankand IMF simply go to support and reinforce the argument of theliberal/capitalist economists that the only option for the Africancountries is to accept their role as mere "appendages of the internationalmarket and should ride that market's coat-tails to prosperity," (Bienefeld1988). The Implication of this, Bienefeld (p.77) reasons, would be theundermining of Africa's ability to build those political coalitions thatwould "ultimately have to develop their capacity to sustain coherentnational development strategies that are both economically dynamicand sensitive to that particular society's long term social and politicalneeds." Bienefeld in 1988 (pp.77 & 78) made the following forecast onAfrica's political economy:
Deeply in debt, the African economies will have little choice but to give ahigh priority to these export activities, even though their populations maybe starving and export prices may be collapsing. Meanwhile the resultingfinancial squeeze and import famine will destroy local markets, decimateinfrastructure, undermine social welfare, destabilize currencies and provokepolitical instability. The resulting deterioration in the investment climatewill make a mockery of the [World) Bank's promise of greater efficiencyand increased inflows of foreign capital.
When viewed from Nigeria's, Ghana's and Cote d'lvoire's nationalsituations, Blenefeld's forecast is just a prophesy that came true toosoon.
Nothing could be more analytical, predictive and interpretativethan the following summation by Bienefeld (p.78) of how Africa hasbeen permanently trapped in the vicious cycle of underdevelopment:
Most countries in Africa have now fallen (or been enticed) into a trap fromwhich there is no easy escape. Moreover, there should be no doubt thatthe same international agencies and the same international market forcesthat are now being portrayed as the 'solution' to their problems, wereinstrumental in encouraging and financing them along the road to ruin.Today's African countries are literally trapped within economic structuresthat were almost entirely built with 'expert' approval and with internationalfinance between 1960 and 1980. Most of these structures became unviablebecause under the international conditions prevailing after the mid- 1970s,these countries could no longer earn nearly enough foreign exchange tomeet the minimum import levels required to keep them functioningeffectively. The consequent import shortages reduced rates of capacityutilization, increased corruption and destroyed infrastructure which raisedcosts of production and further undermined economic viability. Once
confronted with this 'now' situation, most African governments faced anImpossible choice: they could either allow their earlier investments tocollapse, because In retrospect, many of these now appeared as costly'mistakes'; or they could squeeze more foreign exchange out of agricultureIn a desperate effort to avert such a collapse. Unfortunately, althoughboth of these options are extremely painful, neither Is likely to be viable.
Why Africa is Underdeveloped
The understanding of the genesis of Africa's underdevelopment is thebeginning of wisdom of prescriptive panacea for Africa's developmentand true integration in a free market economy. Colonialism is themother and root of all evil that has derailed Africa. Whether we like itor not, the way and manner the African colonies were administeredand handed over to the nationalists, most of whom later turned out tobe military and political puppets and economic saboteurs, madedependency inevitable. Because of the high-handedness with whichthe African colonies were administered, the colonizing European powershanded over highly centrally planned, state-managed, commandeconomies. What existed to complement this type of economic structurewere pockets of small-scale and medium-level market-organizedeconomies that the state granted some form of limited autonomy. Theway and manner the economy was structured and handed over to thenationalist leaders at independence made African economicdevelopment, industrialization, political stability and social equityproblematique. The inadequacy of the colonial economic structureAfrica inherited is well articulated by Calvocoressi (1985) in the followingpassage:
The essence of the charge against colonial economics is that the colonizerwas attracted to the colony by its resources and his business was theremoval of these resources. Specifically chosen areas were developed andstripped - annually if they were agricultural, until exhausted if they weremineral. Markets in neighbouring African territories were not developedand the colony became increasingly riveted to the economy of the metropole,as a flourishing but dependent modern economy was inserted into thecolony alongside the stagnant traditional economy. The profits of theformer were garnered by the foreigner and by a small elite of Africanfarmers, traders and chiefs while the wider economy benefited not at allbecause taxation of profits was light or evadable or non-existent.
Africa's continued economic dependency continues to be aflourishing business to the West and their African ruling puppetsbecause, "any attempt to transform the economy from colonialexploitation to a more autonomous and profitable development requiresextensive help from the outside world.... Development in the first
decades of Independence was Industrialization which, howeverappealing to the ruling few, was both alien to Africans In general andespecially dependent on foreign funds and goodwill," (Ibid., p.33). Thesocial origin of Africa's underdevelopment is the introduction of large-scale commercial activities without the development of Industry -hence African nations became only buyers and sellers. They becamegreat consumers of Western products, instead of being producers oftheir own Industrial outputs for export purposes and foreign exchangeearnings. Momoh (1992) has argued that the colonial and post-colonial periods were used to complete the destruction of Africa'sindustrial orientation because from the era of slave trade throughcolonialism Africa was never encouraged to process the primarycommodities it could produce. Consequently, the present formula ofinternational capital flow for the location of Western satellite IndustriesIn Africa Is nothing but a fire-brigade approach to solving a seriousproblem of underdevelopment. It is therefore logical to agree withMomoh that "the importing of capital through loans, aides and grants,and machinery and technologies": only represents another methodkeeping our productive capacity and base completely destroyed as, "itis a clever neo-colonialist device of perpetuating our dependence andsubservience."
At independence, Mozambique had put in place what was thoughtto be a model of a carefully constructed social system that would havebeen "able to salvage a social democratic mid-way between marketand planned economy," (Wolfers, 1992). But the South Africangovernment-assisted insurgency and terrorism that Renamo(Mozambique National Resistance) mounted, destabilized Mozambique.She was, thus, forced into dependence on foreign aid whereby thedonor countries and agencies could determine her fundamental policyand usurp the role of her government because according to JosephHanlon's Mozambique: Who Calls the Shots? (as reviewed by Wolfers)the Mozambican "government has no money of its own" as "everytractor, lorry, car, seed or hoe comes from a donor". Consequently,the international aid industry, estimated to be worth US $50 billion ayear on a global scale, the World Bank, the International MonetaryFund, South Africa and Renamo have all succeeded in the"recolonization of Mozambique to the eventual benefit of the formerinterests of colonial times," (Wolfers, 1992).
There seems to be a major misconception of how the liberal,market-organized economies around the world operate by the locationof satellite industries in the peripheries from the centre; these industriesare usually brought in on borrowed loans that are repaid in foreignexchange. The paradox is that the outputs of the Industries are notenough to meet the loan demands upon which they were Installed In
the first place. This practice furthers dependency. If the answer tothe basic requirement of a humane economy, to deliver realincomes that are widely shared is to be found in the integrated, freemarket economy, the African countries might as well seriously ponder,take notice of, and give serious thought to McCracken's (1991) two-dimensional suggestions that are simple, direct and easy to apply as apossible and plausible solution to overcoming under-development.McCracken (1991) posits that for economic progress to occur, wemust have an answer to his first question: "How can we take advantageof a stock of knowledge and creativity that does not exist in its totalityin any place and never will?" His answer to the above question is theadoption of the liberal, market-organized economic system because ofthe logical answers it has. According to him: "anyone who has a newidea can try it out. If it is not good, and most of them are not, thequantity of the nation's productive resources thus 'wasted* is negligible.For those who have a good idea, the rewards can be substantial...William Hewlett and David Packard became rich, but of far greatersignificance is that the American economy has the great Hewlett-Packard Company with its thousands of jobs and its capability at theforefront of technology."
McCracken's (1991) second question, and perhaps suggestedsolution, "is how the new that is better will displace the old." Thefollowing is his answer:
The liberal, market-organized economic order has a straightforwardprocedure. Let the old and new battle it out in the impersonal arena ofopen, competitive markets. If consumers, free to chose in these open andcompetitive markets, prefer the new, the old is forced out of the marketand disappears. There is a procedure for continuous cleansing of thesystem as the productive resources are moved from the old to the new andbetter. And for this process also, the market economy can draw upon thewisdom of the entire community to sort out the new products that shouldprevail - and whose production will then become a claim on the economy'sinevitably limited supply of productive resources. Contrast this with theprocess in a command economy, where a bureaucracy must make thesedecisions. More comfortable with old ways, the pertinent department willinevitably be skeptical of the new, and even experts are often off target injudging what people will want to buy. These decisions are better left to themore Impersonal markets.
We interpret McCracken's views to mean a domestic, liberal, market-organized economy that is not infestedhy the flow of foreign capitals,investments, satellite industries that are based in the centre, but onethat is based on the natives' ingenuity to inventions and discoveries inscience and technology that would be translated into commerce and
export. In such a setting, local national industrial development andgrowth through competition, displaces a centrally-planned, commandeconomy that is susceptible to bureaucratization and corruption ofimmense dimension. McCracken's application of knowledgeand creativity is lar reaching in its implication. It means that It iswhen a society applies its scientific and technological knowledge tomaking inventions (creativity) that industries develop. Manufacturedproducts are then exported to compete in a global free market economy,where the new products compete with the old in an open market ofvaried and competitive markets for the survival of the fittest. That Isthe ideal free market economy that can develop Africa. The solution Isneither the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) strategyand its Structural Adjustment Programmes nor the commandeconomies that are characterized by centralization and bureaucracy.According to Turok, (1987) the Strategy of import substitution thathad initially raised hopes that Africa would become increasingly self-reliant became a mirage. Turok (ibid.) makes the following revelation:
While a sizeable consumer goods industry emerged in many countries, itdid not encourage the development of key industries with strong domesticlinkages. Instead, the two-thirds of total value added in manufacturingattributed to consumer goods like clothing, Pharmaceuticals, paper, etc.are still imported at a major cost in foreign exchange resources. There hasbeen relatively little utilization of local materials in the total productionprocess and, therefore, little saving in foreign exchange.
Perhaps, the biggest failure of policy has been the failure to developlinkages backwards and forwards between agriculture and the rest of theproductive economy. Industry does not use the indigenous materialresources as a base but continues to look to imported raw materials.Even local minerals are not used or processed. There are abundant suppliesof phosphates, limestone, iron, bauxite, and copper, but Africa continuesto import fertilizers, cement, iron and steel, aluminium, etc.
From the foregoing and other critical views that preceeded Turok's(Ibid.) we can see that Africa is yet to liberate itself from theencumbrances of colonial linkages of import substitution economythat has led to its economic quagmire and wholesale dependency thatmay deny her some degree of respectability in post-modern informationsociety.
The heavy indebtedness of Third World countries to the industrializedWestern countries and the refusal of the latter to write-off the debt.
mean that economic dependency will for a long time be a permanentfeature of North-South relations.
The collapse of communism has meant the collapse of a majoralternative development paradigm the Marxist-Leninist model, thatforced capitalism to develop a social welfare system for Its marginalizedproductive labour force. This has led to a massive resurgence of neo-imperiallsm and the Western institutions that sustain it (such as theInternational Monetary Fund and the World Bank). The challengefacing contemporary scholarship In its analysis of political economy ofcommunication and development Is that of boldly addressing theissue of the hegemonic structure and control of the world economyand the systematic strangulation of Africa and the rest of the ThirdWorld by the industrialized world. To shy away from addressing theissue that the under-development of Third World societies came aboutthrough colonialism is to run away from reality.
The trickling of whatever form of life-line from the West that stillsustains the dependent Third World nations has its origin in the socialstructures that the West left In the wake of the retreat of its imperialism.The current indebtedness of the Third World is just a by-product offractured social systems that the West half-heartedly developed In theformer colonies. The African and Third World debt crisis and itsadverse effect are leading to a gradual decay and non-development ofmost Third World societies in an age of post-modernism. For us tochronicle the problem of dependency, especially as it affects the processof communication and development when the developed world isenjoying the benefits of post-industrial society, means that we mustalso be honest enough to admit that colonization and exploitation ofthe Third World societies by the West constituted a serious draw-backin social equity and equal pace of development in the former.
The concept of a new world order has gained diplomatic, political,economic and academic legitimacy since the democratization processbegan in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. But for thenew world order to achieve its goals, the specialized internationalorganizations and developed democracies will have to put in place thenecessary machinery that would guarantee (to the people of thedeveloping nations and the emerging democracies) the acceptablesocial institutions and structures that would lead to enhanced livingstandards for greater productivity and capacity for generating higherincome per capita, and accentuated social activities for economicdevelopment that would lead to the realization of the politicalempowerment of the individual in a brand new world. Such a measurewill effectively check dependency.
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